Friday, April 25, 2003

On The Red Sea, SARS And Fear (Jewish Week)


On The Red Sea, SARS And Fear
Joshua Hammerman

In what is arguably his funniest movie, 'Love and Death,' Woody Allen plays a Russian caught up in the Napoleonic invasion of his country. Amid the philosophical banter that produces much of the film’s humor, Allen’s very Jewish outlook shines through in what some would label his pragmatism, but others would call cowardice:

'And so I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Actually, make that 'I run through the valley of the shadow of death' — in order to get out of the valley of the shadow of death more quickly, you see.'

Contrast that with the image of courage depicted in the legend regarding the crossing of the Red Sea, an event commemorated on the seventh day of Passover. It’s a remarkable Midrash because it goes against all the stereotypes about the 'daring' Moses and recalcitrant Israelites that we’ve been taught.

In this tale, the tribes are vying for the honor of being the first to plunge into the still-raging sea, while Moses is standing off to the side immersed in panicked prayer until God finally chides him, saying, 'My beloved are on the verge of drowning in the sea and you’re babbling on with lengthy prayers.' Nachson, the son of Amminadav, springs forward into the sea while Moses begs God to tell him what to do. Finally, God tells him, in effect, to stop praying and do something. Pick up your rod, He commands. Moses does, the sea splits, and the rest is history.

Woody Allen’s ambivalence about risk taking has been mocked as a relic of our centuries-old, diaspora-conditioned negative self-image, something that was supposedly rendered obsolete by the creation of Israel. The modern Sabra has indeed fostered a new image of Jewish heroism, but Judaism remains as it always was, somewhere between Woody Allen and Ari Ben Canaan, traversing the Valley when necessary, but traversing it briskly. Ours is not a kamikaze religion. Even Moses had his moments of paralysis.

So a Jewish medical practitioner comes to me and asks what our tradition would tell him about a doctor treating a patient with SARS. This virus is truly scary because so much about it is still unknown, but what is known is that SARS is deadly and extremely contagious. Unlike AIDS, it can be transmitted without intimate contact; unlike West Nile, it cannot be traced to infected parasites; and unlike Ebola, it is not confined to some remote jungle. It’s right here, or soon will be, threatening to turn your local mall into that Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Think about it: When people take the 'risk' of traveling to Israel, they may get flak from loved ones before they go, but once they return, they are embraced and celebrated for their courage as folks crowd around to hear their tales. But if you take a trip to Hong Kong these days, no red carpet will greet you on your return. Rather, you’ll be greeted like an outcast, quarantined, shunned, feared even by your closest family — avoided like the plague.

Eventually the panic will subside as the medical community gets a handle on SARS, but for the time being, the answer I gave the doctor was not at all clear-cut. Maimonides and others long ago codified the obligation of a physician to heal, but when a patient has a contagious disease, the obligation to save one’s own life can take precedence. If the risk is very small (sofek sakanah), the doctor is obligated to heal, and if it is great s/he is not.

Interestingly, according to Dr. Fred Rosner, an expert on these matters, when a doctor treats a patient despite high risks, the act is considered a 'pious one' (midat chasidut) by some halachic authorities and folly (chasid shoteh) by others. The Babylonian Talmud opines that one is not obligated to endanger one’s life even if the risk is small, in order to save the life of another. In contrast, the Jerusalem Talmud states that one should take that risk.

The dialectic between the two Talmuds reflects a dialogue that has been ongoing in Jewish circles through the centuries.

In 'Love and Death,' Allen is challenged to a duel. He replies, 'I can’t do anything to the death, doctor’s orders. I have an ulcer and dying is one of the worst things for it.'

It’s OK for Jews to be afraid. It’s OK to place personal safety and, by extension, obligations to one’s family, above a higher cause, such as a physician’s oath or national objective. In biblical times, an Israelite who was afraid to fight in a (non-obligatory) war was sent home without censure.

'Just go,' the officer would say. 'Enjoy your new wife, new home or freshly planted vineyard! It’s OK!'

We have nothing to fear of fear itself.

Which is why I am in such awe of those who have placed it all on the line these past few weeks, whether in the hospitals with SARS victims or on the front lines of Iraq. A Jew isn’t doing these things out of a religious obligation but out of pure love of country and humanity, and the hope of freeing others from the fears that enslave them. Like Nachshon at the Red Sea, they have taken the plunge for all of us. n

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., can be reached at His new book, “ Seeking God in Cyberspace” can be previewed on-line at

Special To The Jewish Week

Friday, April 11, 2003

Shabbat-AND-Pesach-O-Gram, April 11-18, 2003, Nisan 9-16, 5763

Shabbat-AND-Pesach-O-Gram, April 11-18, 2003, Nisan 9-16, 5763

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


This Shabbat-O-Gram is being sponsored by Cathy, David, Adam and Rebecca Satz, in celebration of SPRING!

Todah Rabbah to the Satz family





It will be a special pleasure this year, for the first time ever, to be sharing a community Seder together.  Thanks so much especially to Gail Berman, who has worked tirelessly to make this dream come true. Evidently, this was an idea whose time had come, because 176 people have signed up!  It will be a mini Shabbaton, with a little something for all ages. We are so sorry that we could not accommodate several families that have called after our final deadline of last Monday.  I am reserving the right to extend an invitation (as space allows), even at the last minute, to a student or other single person in town, of any age, who has nowhere else to go and wishes to attend.  If you know of such a person, please have them contact me ASAP.

If you are coming, be aware that this will be a participatory Seder.  You are welcome to share family customs, special melodies and unique interpretations.  Also, we’ll provide the wine, but this Seder is B.Y.O.P. BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW (if you are used to reclining on a pillow, that is).  We’ll be using the new Hartman Haggadah, “A Different Night,” (great for all ages), supplemented by a pamphlet of songs and there will also be a children’s Haggadah for the younger kids.  But feel free to bring different Haggadahs to provide additional perspectives.  And finally, please note that we plan to start ON TIME. If you plan to be here a bit early, it will help us seat everyone get things rolling.

Happy Passover to you and yours from the Hammerman family. 



To download a sale of Hametz form, click on

Signed forms must be in my hands by 8 AM on Wednesday morning.  E-mail replies are also allowable.  They can be returned by fax to the temple at our fax number, 322-0532.

 What is the sale of hametz, anyway????  Find out at and


Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (


“E-mail from the Front” 

As these fateful weeks continue, new “E-mail from the Front” has come in.  Go to and scroll down to the most recent entries.








Friday Night

Candles: 7:11 PM (nice name for a store) 

Tot Shabbat: 6:30 PM in the lobby (with another special appearance by Matzo Man)

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 7:30 PM, in the lobby

Shabbat Morning:

Service: 9:30 AM

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion – Metzorah (Shabbat Ha-Gadol – the “Great Shabbat,” the Shabbat just before Passover)

Read the Masorti commentary at JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.: CLAL's Torah commentary archive:  Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries:  For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to Kabbala Online:

MAZAL TOV to Michael Stein, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning

MAZAL TOV to Brian Nesin and Romy Smith, soon to be married, whose “Ufrufn” will be celebrated here this Shabbat morning


Shabbat Mincha/Havdalah:

Service at 6:45 PM

MAZAL TOV to Sam Rosenfeld, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon



Search for Hametz (Bedikat Hametz) – Tuesday evening, at home.

No Hametz should be eaten from around 10:30 AM on Wednesday, nor should Matzah be consumed on the eve of the Seder

Siyum for the First Born – after morning minyan on Wednesday

Candles: Wednesday, 7:16 PM, Thursday at 8:18 PM, Friday at 7:18 PM – for information of  the laws regarding use of fire and Yom Tov going into Shabbat, see

Festival Services: at 9:30 on Thursday and Friday mornings, and also on the 7th and 8th days, April 23rd and 24th.  (Yizkor prayers will be recited on the 24th)

Second Seder – begins at 7:00 PM on Thursday evening

CHILDREN’S SERVICES WITH NURIT WILL BE HELD EACH OF THE FOUR WEEKDAY “YOM TOV” MORNINGS, AT 10:30 am.  Older children are actively encouraged to come to our main service on those mornings.  Parts are being distributed by the rabbi and cantor.  Please contact them if you are interested.  Since this week is school vacation, we especially encourage entire families to attend!

On Friday, April 18, there will be a Tot Shabbat at 6:30 PM and Kabbalat Shabbat at 7:30.

On Shabbat, April 19, the service will feature guest speaker Dr. Ken Temple of our congregation (see below for details).  It will be a Kahal service, with lunch to follow.


Morning MinyanDaily at 7:30 AM, Sunday at 9:00 AM in the chapel – NO EARLY MINYAN ON DAYS 1,2,7&8 of Passover

MAZAL TOV also to: Marcie and Martin Nirschel on the birth of Jessica Natalie Nirschel, and Mindy and Allan Grafstein (and grandparents Gary and Judi Gladstein) on the birth of Daniel Max Grafstein.


The New Weekday Sim Shalom Prayer Books HAVE ARRIVED!!!  We are now using them at our morning minyan.  Come by and check them out!






Spiritual Journey on the Web








Judith Hauptman examines the progression of women leaving the kitchen and joining in the Passover festivities and traditions in - Pesah: A Liberating Experience for Women at

Read excerpts of Dr. Burton Vistozky's dynamic book on the Israelite exodus from Egypt and the story of Passover in - The Road to Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community at

In charge of leading your seder this year and have no idea how to go about it?
Please read Dr. Steven M. Brown's step-by-step on leading a seder at and become a pro!

Tired of reading about the holiday? Then why not listen to Why this Night? A Passover Special – a conversation between Chancellor Ismar Schorsch and National Public Radio personality Larry Josephson at

Beautiful online holiday postcards to send your loved ones from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library's extensive collection at

Or purchase these postcards and other items through The Jewish Theological Seminary Library at

Kids Corner:
Unsure about how to explain Passover and celebrate the holiday with your children? Here's a brief explanation and seder workbook, broken into fourteen easy steps, that enables you to teach and learn about the significance of Passover. By the time you finish, every member of the family will be an expert!!


USCJ Passover Guides and Seder Supplements: (how to Kasher your home) (Ten Tips for a Great Seder, by Ron Wolfson)

More Ways to Enrich Your Seder Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner offers a wealth of ideas to enrich the content of your seder. He invites you to download his free Passover Guide and Seder Supplement (featuring all those funny song parodies): (Afikoman Treasure Hunt) (Empty Seder Chair for Murdered Israelis) (Seder Table Checklist) (Changing over your Kitchen tips) (Searching for Leaven) (Matzah of Unity Reading -- Solidarity with Israel)

From CLAL:

Steve Greenberg: Passover --

David Kraemer: Pesach - To Ask Questions --

Dianne Kohler Esses: To Tell the Exodus Story

An Interactive Passover Holiday Card --

New Rituals for Pesach (The Shalom Center)

New Israel Fund’s 20 page Haggadah Supplement:

The Forward: Finding Personal Meaning in Passover Rituals: Rabbinical Assembly guide to Passover practice Jewish Week Passover supplement

Kashrut.Com - The Premier Kosher Information Source on the Internet;; -- This year’s OU Guide, available on Adobe -- Order Passover food online An extensive array of Kosher links a valuable new web site that provides materials and activities about modern day slavery; are appropriate for Passover.

My Jewish Learning (also see the fascinating section on Bar/Bat Mitzvah on the home page this week)

The Use of Drama at the Passover Seder (fascinating historical survey)




Required Reading and Action Items 


Three Myths Ripe for Deconstruction - Michael Gove (London Times)

  • Britain and America armed Saddam's tyranny.
    According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, between 1973 and 2002, Russia supplied 57% of Saddam's arms imports, France 13%, and China 12%. The U.S. supplied at most just 1% and Britain significantly less than that. Brazil supplied more weaponry to Saddam than the U.S. and Britain combined. No wonder France, Russia, and China declined to support action to disarm one of their best customers.
  • Targeting Baghdad is a "diversion" from the war on terrorism.
    The "secular" Iraqi regime played host to a variety of Islamist terrorists from across the Arab world, training them on its territory, supplying them with its weapons, and sending them abroad on missions to kill its enemies. During this war, Saddam's most determined defenders have not been the Iraqi Army but Islamist fanatics. Far from this campaign having been a distraction from the wider war on terror, it has been a hammer blow against a regime which sponsored, succored, and exported terrorism.
  • We must now show "evenhandedness" by enforcing UN resolutions against Israel, just as we have against Iraq.
    The attempt to imply some parity of guilt between Iraq and Israel is morally shameful and a willfully blind misreading of the relevant UN resolutions. Iraq was in breach of Chapter 7 resolutions, which provide for military action to deal with threats to international peace and security. The resolutions which concern Israel are based on Chapter 6 of the UN Charter and they are non-binding recommendations for settling disputes. To bracket Iraq and Israel in the way that Robin Cook did is to suggest that there is a moral equivalence between a murderer and someone who is having difficulty with marriage counseling. In arguing that, after Iraq, Israel must abide by UN resolutions, Jack Straw is placing terrorism's biggest victim, rather than its perpetrators, in the dock.

For Wolfowitz, a Vision May Be Realized - Michael Dobbs
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz's long-held dream of ridding the world of a leader he regards as one of the cruelest of modern-day despots and a direct threat to the security of the United States seems on the point of being realized. But an even bigger challenge now awaits: creating a free, stable, and democratic Iraq that will serve as an inspiration to its neighbors. Wolfowitz's fervent belief in what he calls "the power of the democratic idea" - and its applicability to a part of the world better known for authoritarian regimes, many of them closely allied to Washington - has won him both admirers and detractors. (Washington Post)


Syria Now Top U.S. Target for Regime Change - Toby Harnden (Telegraph-UK)
Some U.S. officials are convinced that Assad has actively collaborated with Saddam and agreed to take weapons, including Scud missiles, from him so they would not be discovered in Iraq by UN inspectors.
    Satellite photographs revealed heavily guarded convoys moving from Iraq to Syria last year.
    "Significant equipment, assets and perhaps even expertise was transferred, the first signs of which appeared in August or September 2002," a Bush administration official said.
    "It is quite possible that Iraqi nuclear scientists went to Syria and that Saddam's regime may retain part of its army there."

Jewish Casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom (JTA)
    Corporal Mark Evnin, 21, of Burlington, Vt., a sniper scout with the Marines' 1st Division, was killed near Kut by Iraqi machine-gun fire.
    According to San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Koopman, Evnin was shooting back after coming under fire. His wounds did not appear life-threatening, but he died while being evacuated by helicopter.
    Evnin is the grandson of Rabbi Max Wall, rabbi emeritus of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, who served as a chaplain with the 9th Infantry during World War II.

Are 100 Bin Ladens on the Way? - Daniel Pipes (National Post-Canada) Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak predicts that the war in Iraq will have horrible consequences: "Instead of one bin Laden there will be one hundred bin Ladens." However, I expect that Muslim anger will diminish after an allied victory in Iraq, for the following reasons: Iraqi gratitude: Watching the gratitude of liberated Iraqis will undercut the Muslim sense of outrage that this war harmed the Iraqi population. Oil: When a new Iraqi government takes charge of its oil resources, the canard that Washington is fighting for control over Iraqi oil will die. Imperialism: The alacrity with which the allies remove themselves from controlling Iraq will assuage fears of it becoming part of a U.S. empire. Strong horse: As bin Laden himself put it, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." An allied victory will establish who the strong horse is, diminishing the ardor of its enemies to fight.

Sharon: No Discussions on Settlements until Final Status Talks - Herb Keinon
There is absolutely no reason now to discuss the settlement issue, and it will come up during the final status negotiations with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the cabinet Sunday. Sharon's statement comes amid signals that there will be heavy pressure placed on Jerusalem during the early stages of the road map to freeze settlement construction. The road map calls for Israel to "immediately" dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001 and calls for Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including construction for natural growth, following a comprehensive cease fire.
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel supports the road map as long as it faithfully represents President Bush's June 24 Middle East vision speech. Shalom said Israel rejects the Palestinian interpretation of the road map that maintains that the Israeli and Palestinian steps must be taken in parallel. "Fighting Palestinian terrorism is a condition for progress," Shalom said. Israel will not agree to a situation where Palestinian terror will accompany negotiations. (Jerusalem Post)


·  U.S. Replaces Israel as Number One Enemy of Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinian hatred for America is at an all-time high, in spite of the ongoing extension of U.S. aid to the PA, and American support for Palestinian statehood. The two Palestinian youths arrested on Tuesday while throwing stones at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem were expressing the hatred of America instilled in many Palestinian children by their mother's milk. Day after day, through the panoply of satellite TV channels, Muslim and Christian preachers, and acid-tongued commentators, Palestinians are being exposed to an unprecedented tidal wave of anti-American hatred. "The U.S. has replaced Israel as the number-one enemy of the Palestinians and [the] Arab world," a veteran Palestinian journalist remarked. (Jerusalem Post)  Members of two families, Jewish and Arab residents of the Galilee, underwent simultaneous kidney transplant procedures this week, saving the lives of their loved ones who suffered from chronic kidney problems. The families say that the experience has left them feeling closely connected to each other and hope that their actions will serve as a message promoting peaceful relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs.  On Monday the 'cross transplant' kidney operations were performed at the same time in Rambam Hospital in Haifa and Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikva. Ilia Halon, 45, an Arab truck driver from Acco, received a kidney donated by Yigal Ozri, 38, a Jewish resident of Kibbutz Naot Mordechai. At the same time Ron, Ozri's ten-year-old son, underwent a procedure which gave him a kidney donated by Halon's wife Lena. .... The emotional meeting of the two families took place this week following the successful surgical procedures.....Ozri expressed his feelings for the Halon family, explaining that after what they have shared the two families will always feel a strong connection to each other. "...I immediately agreed to the 'cross transplant.' ..... This is my son; he's a part of me. From our point of view, the Halon family became part of our family. My kidney is transplanted in him, and his wife's is transplanted in my son, and we will be happy to remain in touch with them," Ozri said.


Palestinian Terrorist Training Camp Discovered in Iraq U.S. Marines have discovered a large-scale terrorist training camp for the Palestinian Liberation Front, southwest of Baghdad, as well as documents indicating that Iraq sold weapons to the PLF for its fight against Israel as late as January. The hidden facility could accommodate at least 600 people at a time. "This proves the link between Iraq and terror groups," said Capt. Aaron Robertson, an intelligence officer. (Los Angeles Times)


The Influence of Palestinian Organizations on Foreign News Reporting - Dan Diker



IDF: American Activist May Have Been Hit by Palestinian Gunfire - Joel Leyden
American International Solidarity Movement activist Brian Avery was wounded in Jenin last Saturday. According to an IDF investigation into the shooting, "It cannot be determined with certainty that the ISM activist was hit by Israeli gunfire." Jenin had been placed under curfew last Friday as the result of IDF intelligence pointing to planned suicide bomber activity against Jewish communities. During this time, Palestinians directed gunfire and threw firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at IDF forces, with an IDF officer lightly wounded by a firebomb. At one point, the IDF fired four warning shots at four people who all appeared to be holding firebombs. "At the same time there was gunfire coming from Palestinian terrorists in the immediate vicinity," said an IDF spokesperson. ISM activists have a proven history of providing shelter to Palestinian terrorists and have been involved in inciting the local population to take part in violent demonstrations. (Jerusalem Post)


The Real Truth About Reality TV (Beliefnet)


Earlier this week the Supreme Court barred Women of the Wall from holding prayer services at the Western Wall, and gave the government one year to prepare an adjacent area of the plaza for their use. Read Ha'aretz coverage


Shiva For A Soldier (Jewish Week)


What is This War About? - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)


Passover Rations Missing In Action (Jewish Week)


Palestinians Stunned by Collapse of Saddam's Regime - Khaled Abu Toameh
"Now that Saddam is gone, the Palestinians feel like orphans. We have lost an important ally. He was even more popular than Yasser Arafat," said Abdel Majiud al-Bahs, a 46-year-old engineer. Some Palestinians chose to vent their anger on the Arab media, especially al-Jazeera, Abu Dhabi, and al-Arabiya TV stations for broadcasting lies about the developments on the battlefield. "For the past three weeks these stations gave us the impression that Iraq had the upper hand in the fighting against the U.S. and British forces," complained Yahya al-Natsheh, a store owner in al-Bireh. "Once again the Arabs have fallen victim to the lies of their leaders and media. We never learn from our mistakes," said Abed al-Zamel, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher. (Jerusalem Post)


Virtual Rally for the Troops

Honest Targeted Strikes – Exposing a Double Standard:


As Baghdad falls and the U.S. begins efforts to structure an interim Iraqi government, one key question remains: Where is Saddam Hussein? Did the U.S. Air Force seal his fate under a residential building earlier this week? While the suspense lingers, the action begs comparison with the Israeli front. HonestReporting has recently exposed double standards in media coverage of suicide bombings and checkpoint accidents; this time, it's aerial strikes against terrorist masterminds. 


The parallel events:


On Monday, acting upon intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein's whereabouts, a U.S. B1-B aircraft dropped four 2,000 lb. bombs on a West Baghdad building. While Saddam's status remains unknown, at least 10 civilians died under four collapsed structures.


On Tuesday, acting upon intelligence indicating the whereabouts ofHamas terror leader Sa'id Arabid, the Israeli Air Force struck Arabid's car with missiles, leaving Arabid, his Hamas partner and four others dead. Arabid was Hamas' replacement for Salah Shehadeh, who was killed in his Gaza apartment by an Israeli F-16 last July; 14 others died in that strike.


The media spin:


In Iraq, the major media almost uniformly highlighted the remarkableintelligence gathered by the CIA, the swiftness of the B1-B's call to duty, and  U.S. spokesman's proud declaration that "a leadership target was hit very hard." The civilian death toll was typically relegated to the end of reports, if mentioned at all. See, for example, this Reuters article:


In the Shehadeh incident, however, Israel was censured by the Western press from London to California for the "atrocity" (BBC and Hartford Courant), an "indefensible and indiscriminate attack" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) that itself constituted "unspeakable terror" (San Jose Mercury News).See the original HonestReporting critique:


At the time, White House spokesman Ari Fleisher condemned the Israeli strike as a "heavy-handed action that is not consistent with dedication to peace in the Middle East." When pointedly asked to justify the difference between Israel's Gaza action and U.S. Afghanistan efforts (seaborne Tomahawk missiles fired at terror-leader compounds), Fleisher stated: "It is inaccurate to compare the two. And the crucial difference here being that in this instance, in Gaza, this was a deliberate attack against a building in which civilians were known to be located. And that does separate it from the [American] activities taken."  See Fleisher's widely quoted statements at:


In the wake of 9/11, a Western consensus emerged that the evil of terrorism threatens entire democratic populations. In response, both the Israeli and U.S. governments reached the operative conclusion that terrorism must be fought with military means. Civilians, used contemptuously by terrorists as human shields, often pay the unfortunate price of these military efforts.


Given this important common ground, why does the media apply two standards-- the Israel-standard and the U.S. coalition-standard -- when covering military strikes against terror leaders? When it comes to reporting armeddefense against terror, does Israel form a black hole, warping the media's moral compass?


HonestReporting was established on the intuitive belief that Israel does not receive fair media coverage, but until now we lacked a solid benchmark to confirm the bias. The Iraq war provides that benchmark, confirming the contention that it was not specific tactics that the media objected to, but rather that Israel was using them.  HonestReporting encourages members to monitor your local media to see how they are reporting targeted strikes against terror leaders, and the collateral civilian deaths.






Quotes of the Week 







“[W]hy do we so mistrust Europe?… In 1967, when Israel was on the verge of being overrun…the French, our main arms provider, imposed an arms embargo, abandoning Israel to its fate. In 1973, when Israel was under attack from all sides, no European country except Portugal…would grant the U.S. overflight rights to rush to us emergency supplies… Much fresher still, however, is perhaps the greatest betrayal of all, the one that continues until this moment. In 2000, Israel finally did what Europe has been pressing for over three decades: it put on the table an offer of Palestinian statehood over some 97% of the territories. The Palestinian counter-offer? A terrorist offensive that continues to this day. As Israeli civilians were pounded by attack after grisly attack, Europe’s media and political leadership did not rush to our defense. Nor were they particularly evenhanded… Your colleague Louis Michel of Belgium stood on the tarmac of the Brussels airport and sent the Palestinians supplies. Your colleague Chris Patten of the European Commission refused to countenance the idea that the Karine A might have something to do with Yasser Arafat… Leading European intellectuals came to Arafat’s court to express their ‘solidarity’… Why does Europe not count for Israel?... Because Europe has no money in its moral bank account… Because when the chips have been down for us in the past, it was always the U.S., and never Europe, that came to our rescue…”—Editorial (Jerusalem Post, April 8)

“No scheme of this enemy, no crime of a dying regime, will divert us from our mission. We will not stop until Iraq is free. Having traveled hundreds of miles, we will now go the last 200 yards. The course is set. We’re on the advance. Our destination is Baghdad, and we will accept nothing less than complete and final victory.”—U.S. President George W. Bush (New York Post, April 4)


“This is a sad day for all the Arabs and Muslims, particularly the Palestinians… I invested a lot of money in buying a satellite dish and a new TV set because I wanted to watch the day the battle for Baghdad began… I was sure that this was going to be one of the great battles of the century, where an Arab army would inflict heavy losses on the invading crusaders. I feel as if a dagger has been stuck in my heart when I see American soldiers strolling in the heart of Baghdad.”--Nael al-Am, a 36-year-old Palestinian grocery owner in Ramallah. He is one of the few merchants who still displays a life-ize poster of the deposed Iraqi president. (Jer. Post, April 9) 












Excitement and celebration!






Sunday, May 4, 2003

5:00 pm

Installation of Cantor Deborah Jacobson

Light Supper Reception


Followed by...


Spectacular Musical Concert with

Danny Maseng "Soul on Fire"

Watch your mail for your invitation.







Beth El Cares Shabbat

Saturday, April 19, 2003

9:30 a.m.

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Ken Temple

Dr. Temple, a member of our congregation (noted especially for coaching our baseball teams) happens to be a volunteer on what is called DMORT, the disaster mortuary operational rescue team.  Part of the National Disaster Medical System, now part of Homeland Security and related to the Office of Emergency Preparedness DMORT is a federal team designed to provide mortuary assistant in the case of mass fatality and cemetery related incidence.

As a dentist, he is one of those people whom we always hear about who identify victims of disaster through their dental records.  Ken spent a lot of time doing just that at the World Trade Center, and, more recently was at the Warwick Night Club in Rhode Island after the deadly fire.  He has lots to teach us.




8th Grade Brunch
and discussion with
Rabbi Hammerman,
Cantor Jacobson and Barb Moskow
Sunday, May 4th, 2003
R.S.V.P. by 5/2 to
Jennifer Greenman -
Daniel Madwed -
Joelle Braun -





“Six Million Times One”


Community Yom Hashoah

April 28, 2003

7:00 PM


Temple Beth El


Request to the Community:

If you would like to include photographs of your loved ones who perished during the Shoah in our community event, please call Ilana De Laney, 321-1373, ext. 114.


We end on a note of HUMOR


Subject: If the Passover Story Were Reported by The NY Times or CNN (forwarded by Beth Boyer) 

The cycle of violence between the Jews and the Egyptians continues with no end in sight in Egypt. After eight previous plagues that have destroyed the Egyptian infrastructure and disrupted the lives of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the Jews launched a new offensive this week in the form of the plague of darkness.

Western journalists were particularly enraged by this plague. "It is simply impossible to report when you can't see an inch in front of you," complained a frustrated Andrea Koppel of CNN. "I have heard from my reliable Egyptian contacts that in the midst of the blanket of blackness, the Jews were annihilating thousands of Egyptians. Their word is solid enough evidence for me."

While the Jews contend that the plagues are justified given the harsh slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, rebuts this claim. "If only the plagues would let up, there would be no slavery. We just want to live plague-free. It is the right of every society."

Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews' superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower God.

The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. "The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region.
The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world," stated an angry French President Jacques Chirac.

Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh's chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be
the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery. "The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy," Mr. Shapiro laments.

The United States is demanding that Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leaders, continue to negotiate with Pharaoh. While Moses points out that Pharaoh had made promise after promise to free the Jewish people only to immediately break them and thereafter impose harsher and harsher slavery, Richard Boucher of the State Department assails the latest offensive. "Pharaoh is not in complete control of the taskmasters," Mr. Boucher states. "The Jews must return to the negotiating table and will accomplish nothing through these plagues."

The latest round of violence comes in the face of a bold new Saudi peace overture. If only the Jews will give up their language, change their names to Egyptian names and cease having male children, the Arab nations will incline toward peace with them, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah declared.


And if the Exodus were being reported by the Iraqi Information Minister:

“Plagues?  WHAT Plagues?”


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